Sunday, December 10

Holiday Bike Drive

Today I was witness to an amazing feet of innovative community support. The Community Cycling Center runs it's annual Holiday Bike Drive, which gives hundreds of bikes away to low-income children. The CCC (as it's commonly called) is a non-profit organization devoted to helping people who cannot afford a bike to recieve not only a means of transportation, but a full education in safety as well. This year's Bike Drive was no exception in this goal. I was privilaged enough to have a few minutes with Alison Hill, the new director for CCC. She was very proud to talk about the new safety programs at the drive. These courses would ensure that both the children as well as their parents have a basic understanding of how to safely ride their bikes. I believe that it's very important to include parents in these safety classes. Since most parents themselves did not have this opportunity, they get an understanding of what children need to know on the road. Since most of these children, in their excitement to get a bike, may remember only part of what they learn. Mom and Dad, who's primary interest is keeping the young ones safe, can listen and remind the kids how to be safe.
We were all appreciative of Legacy Emanuel Hospital which was kind enough to host this enormous event. They generously gave the use of not only their lobby and a beautiful courtyard, but also the highly valuable driveway. Of course the bike drive was only possible due to the dozens of folks who gave their time and energy to check bikes, teach safety, organize people, and especially the brave men and women who stood outside in 20mph winds teaching kids how to ride and turn and stop.
This drive particularly hit home for me because in my younger years I enjoyed a freedom that most of my friends missed out on. Because I was allowed to travel around on my bicycle, I had the freedom to go anywhere in my neighborhood (and later the whole city) that I wanted to. It touches me on a very personal level when I hear about children who are obese, or who cannot leave their house because 'it's so scary out there.' I feel that children who never develop a sense of independance is at least as frightening.
I wish the CCC great success with their continued work to get Portland's population healthy, active, mobile, and happy.